What's wrong with me? I am so shy to the point where it makes me vomit.

I want friends. I want people to like me, even if only a few. I want someone I can talk to without scaring them away. There's got to be something wrong with me because no matter what random person I encounter and engage in a conversation with they end up hating me. I don't know what I do! I'm just shy! I smile, and laugh and am overall very pleasant! I think I have a beautiful mind and I just wish other people would see what I see in myself! I don't know how my shyness would put someone off so much as to make them decide that I'm not worthy of their notice...I mean yeah, not eveeryone in the world will like me...but why not one? Even two people, that are as weird as me?

I supposedly have friends. But they never want to talk or to do anything. I always gave up all of my time to them whenever they needed my help...always was there for them when they were crying or not able to think right, I saved some of their lives! But they never want to call. If I text they might text me back. Sometimes they comment on my FB account...but who the fuck cares? I wouldn't even have a FB if they wanted to talk for real! Over the phone, in person, whichever. None of it. I hear nothing. Until something terrible happens, and they call me terrified and crying, only to hang up quick a few moments later promising to call back and they never do. I can't handle it anymore. I'm sick of worrying about them and them not even caring about me. I thought altruism was a good trait...I guess not. When something terrible happens to me, who can I call? Noone. When I cry and cry and cry and wish so much there was someone there to tell me that they care, who is there saying it? Noone. Who knows this about me? Noone, except now whoever you are.

I just hurt so much. I feel so miserable. I'm sick of meaningless conversations like Oh hi! How are you today? Fantastic! Have a nice day! Those are petty little nuances. I want to know who someone is and I want someone to know who I am, truly, deeply, and lovingly.

I finally did something for myself. I moved from cross country, to a place I had never heard of nor knew anyone. What was the point of staying? I have always wanted to live in the country side and get out of the city. So I did. People said they would miss me. My mom, she loves me, I know, she threw me a going away party. I love her! But I couldn't tell if the people came out of friendship or sense of obligation. Maybe they came for the brisket and grilled jalapenos. Why will you miss me? Nothing will change, will it? I never see you now anyway, so tell me, what is the difference? People who were not invited swore against me...people who had already fallen away from me because they thought they were better than me were mad that I didn't invite them to a party I didn't even know about. To a party for someone they didn't even like anymore. Right. That's another reason I left. If I finally left them and all their problems, I could work on my own!

And for what it's worth, I do love it here. This lonliness I feel, this was before I moved...it's the same. And I am doing more for me...I got into my first art gallery...I am doing free work for NPOS and local farmers...it feels good. But there's still that emptiness, that longer for someone to hang out with. To talk to, in a non-business like manner. I talk professionally all day to people I work with...I want to let loose and let people let loose around me...but there's something about me that really puts people off.

My first art show was last Friday up in Portland...supposed to be huge! Supposed to be a wonderful day! I cried all the day before...so scared...so nervouss...I didn't have anything to wear, nor money to get anything nice. I finally splurged on a nice black dress only to show up and be over dressed. There were so many people. I didn't know where to walk or who to talk to...I didn't know anybody. I looked at every piece there a million times over and everyone else around me was shaking hands and laughing. I thought, maybe if I stand next to my work someone would approach me and tell me they like me painting. So I did. And sure enough, a women started talking to me! I could tell she was warm and friendly and really enjoyed my work...but I just froze up. My tongue swelled and all I could do was smile and turn red. She looked at me (I guess this is when I was supposed to contribute something to the conversation)and I couldn't say anything...she smiled awkwardly and said, "Well, beautiful work, really!" shook my hand and walked away. I don't even remember if I said thank you. It took awhile before I could walk out of there. Got into my car and cried a good hard cry for about 30 minutes.

What's wrong with me? I feel crazy and am scared for myself...please, help me


2958 days ago
I think you probably suffer from social anxiety, and have low self esteem.



2958 days ago
Some times I get tongue twisted when someone approaches me. But take a deep breath, NO PRESSURE. Be yourself. Relax.

I've come a long way, talking to my professor and what not, but it starts little by little.

Start by saying hello or thank you when you buy something at the store. Give warm smiles, say little comments. Even if you don't say much, start with something and I'm sure you'll come a long way :)

Just don't pressure yourself.

And about your friends, there are alot of people like that, they just come when they need you. But the question is, Is it because of you, or are they just selfish?

I'm sure you'll meet great people where you live now, start with small talk. You'll come a long way, especially if your an artist! Maybe you can go to events like that, where you can speak to people about things that interest you or you have something in common with ;)

Hope I helped. Good Luck! Keep us posted!

2958 days ago
Social anxiety is a convenient label for what's going on, but to actually understand it and work with it takes a little self-reflection. You need to look at the way you're interacting with people and compare it to how other people interact. You don't have to copy them, since ultimately you're going to have your own style, but you want to look at what's really preventing you from connecting. Before offering my ideas, I'll add that I've struggled with your issues for a long time but have had some modest success. My best guess about what's going on is this: You've latched onto an identity, or role, of being the frustrated, hopeless girl who can't make it through her anxiety. I have done this myself. It happens because people naturally seek identities, because they have repeated disappointing social experiences, because anxiety makes them feel like they don't have a strong identity, and because playing this role becomes a TOOL for socializing.

What do I mean? When people don't know how to connect authentically, they choose to interact through a role. Your business role is one example, but the other role I think you're playing is the frustrated role. People like to bond over their frustrations. Go to Starbucks and do a little eavesdropping on some younger or even older women. Their conversation is filled with frustration and commiseration. "I hate this," "yeah me too! and that!" "Yeah!" You find the same thing in a different form on the news, where people bond over frustration and anger. It makes sense. After a while, though, it gets annoying and tiring and you just want to talk. I can see that you're at that point and I wonder (just wonder) if your friends are feeling that too. Do you complain a lot to them? Do you see the worst in things? In situations? Do you "pull out" the worst scenario when talking to people? The cure for that is humor and objectivity. Add jokes and try to stay objective, not optimistic, not pessimistic, just neutral. You can even aim that humor at your own frustration with your social life and loneliness.

Second, if that role is serving some type of purpose, you're liable to DEFEND IT. It's subtle, but one thing that can happen is that

you become unrealistically judgmental about other people's interest in you. In your post, you make it seem as though you have no one who could be interested in socializing with you, and when you find a counterexample, you dismiss it as being insincere ("they were doing it out of obligation" which can't be proved or disproved). The more likely explanation is that they're being genuine but you're rejecting it. Why? To protect your identity of being alone and frustrated. If you accept that people are interested in you, you're forced to give up the role of the lonely frustrated person. Moreover, when you think of yourself as the shy, frustrated person, you keep acting that way needlessly. You start to see all your future interactions being frustrating failures and act in accordance with those expectations. That makes it harder for you to interact smoothly.

So what now? First, if you see how you've latched onto that role, then that's a great start. That gives you the OPTION to let go of that role and just be yourself. But who are you? You're a little awkward, a little clumsy, you have a big heart, you're sensitive (in a good way) and you're deep. There's no shame in that. It's like a kid learning to walk; you have to start off awkward and clumsy and be able to laugh at your failures rather than get all ashamed and give up. I'd suggest that try and see how your shyness isn't so hideous and is even rather charming. I personally consider it a sign a good heart. When you find yourself at a loss for words, like at the art show, try and mix in a little of your business persona (asking some questions, making some routine comments) and just being open to whatever happens next, without being too worried about taking control of the situation and being "successful" in making a friend. And with your friends, try and see if the role is dominating your interaction. If you seem to pessimistic, try and add some humor into the situation and laugh at yourself. If you don't know what to say, that's fine. Let them talk. If they ask you for advice, stay objective without getting too negative, and if you meet someone new, you don't have to be in a rush to befriend them and bond with them. Just hang out, and DO SOMETHING like walking around the mall, going to a bookstore, going to a concert, whatever. Just being around the person with an open mind and a decent attitude will help you start feeling close.

I hope this isn't overwhelming or the least bit offensive. It's all speculation, but it comes from personal experience. Best of luck, my shy friend!

2957 days ago
Wow what fantastic advice, it warmed my heart as I am shy too.

2954 days ago
Thank you, everyone, for your kind words.

Edahn, I see where you are going but I think there's a bit more to it. This frustration is within myself...noone around me sees it or even knows about it, so I know that they are not sick of hearing about it. Which furthers my frustration...I would like to let it out sometimes, but I don't want to be that person you just described, who's always pessimistic and self pitying, clinging to their self loathing identity.

I don't like these problematic labels the struggling give themselves either. It's all in the mind. That's where it all begins, I'm determined that it can end there as well. I don't want that kind of identity and feel dependent upon it. I really don't. When I get into one of those overwhelming mental breakdowns I feel like I'm being torn because I see the problem, I see how I need to be, and am sickened that I can't even imagine how to go about doing it. I feel like I completely understand what to do and whats wrong within me, but at the same time I haven't the clue. All the time I have, believe me I've done some serious self-reflection. I'm not the kind to simply accept anything as is and be okay or done with it. I don't like it, I try to understand it, and try to fix it. I just feel so dumb about it, though.

A few days ago I thought about acting my way through this. Cause I do listen to how others interact, and my issue with that is I hate small talk and meaningless conversations. So instead pretend I'm dumber than I really am. Give myself a role. Today, I'm so and so, who loves this and that, and is easily approachable and loves talking etc etc. My only concern with this is, I don't want to get lost in the act and become this new person. For the most part, I do like myself, I like the kind of person that I am. There are just some things that freak me out...bad...ha. And then I think, if I really think I have to dumb myself down in order to simply talk to someone else, what else does that say about the kind of person I am? I don't like the answer and I hate that I think the way I do. So I'll work on that, too.

I want more on a personal level when I'm communicating with people, that's all. I don't want to ridicule other people or complain about frivolous matters like, OMG are you seeing what she is wearing OMG like like like ew, Cosmo is the greatest book ever and I hate gays because God tells me to. Really there is so much to appreciate. But here I am.

All in all, I think the initial shyness is cute and works well for me. It's the shyness that comes after when such alotted amount of time has passed and I should be able to talk but can't. In instances where I've warmed up and been myself, that's when people decide they don't want to be my friend. Referring to the few people who don't disregard me from my shyness, anyway. I want to talk about history and art....they want to talk about Lost and last week when they got wasted. They think I'm hoity toity, I'm really not, I just like those things and I don't think that 'aloof' is a big word. It puts them off. Loss of interest. =/

There's just so many layers I don't think any amount of writing to talking could ever unearth every little detail, and I feel they all play off another. There's just too much. Maybe if I stick a crayon up my nose I won't have a need to think anymore. I'm just going to have to work through this on my own.

And really, the art show was a worst case scenario...that kind of embarrassment is that often! Thank god. Looking back, it was a pleasant evening before I left and broke down.

But I am taking what you said to heart, and will re-evaluate where I currently stand. It was great advice and I will incorporate as much as I feel is relevant. If you have anything to add, I'd love to hear what else you think.

Again, thank you, everyone!

2908 days ago
Oh my gosh...haha crystallizedcharcoal i think you are great. you are so hilarious in the way you describe things like the people who talk about others and seemingly meaningless trendy things like they are the most important things in the world...they can be SO frustrating, so i totally feel you on that!

i actually really relate to your post. i feel as though you sound like me. i think Edahn, your advice is great, but sometimes it's just hard to get yourself going and to know you're doing it "the right way".

i totally understand the "knowing what to do" but then "feeling like you haven't got a clue at the same time" feeling. you have to TRUST yourself whenever you try something.

when i read the part about the art lady, i got really excited for you! but then i could see how you got bummed. =/ but hey! don't beat yourself up over it! if someone approached you once, chances are someone will approach you again, even if it's someone different! and you'll have another chance to speak. you have to FORGIVE yourself for those times that you don't feel like you've done it right. i have struggled a lot with that too.

a lot of times if i say something i feel like, inside, i don't know how the other person is perceiving it. and even though i feel like i'm being genuine, they are not a fan. but you know what - sometimes they don't express like "oh my gosh you are the coolest person ever" but they DON'T shut me down either.

art lady didn't shut you down. so no worries, friend. i think you are super great i love art and deep people and even history even though i don't know a whole lot. there are deep people out there, sometimes they are just hard to find because they're hiding under a shy exterior like you :).

you sound like ME! i think i would love to be friends with someone like you...instead of the "fake" ish people who seem really selfish. sigh.

i'm sorry i hope i don't offend you but i think the way you describe people you are frustrated with in your post is so funny, i can tell you write really well :)

also i had a friend in middle school who wrote with big words...people always acted like "what's her deal" but i loved hanging out with her, it was so intellectually stimulating...we would talk about art and films and literature and so many things...i miss her a lot now that she is far away and hardly find people like her where i am anymore.

sometimes it's hard to find those special people...and you sound like you are one of them and you are having trouble finding someone you can relate to. but for real, don't worry. they're out there.

even if you can't see them. it's hard when we're not all together and like only find each other on things like these forums.

but anyway...yeah sometimes the things i like to do i have to do by myself. once in a while i meet up with people who don't really seem to satisfy, but i try to give them a chance anyways and keep an open mind.

you seem to have great depth, personality, and really cool interests.

so i don't know if it counts for anything, but like i said before, at the beginning of this post, i think you're great.

two thumbs up...or let me press the "like" button on facebook for you over and over again LOL...just kidding ;) i find facebook to sometimes just be so superficial too. but you know, sometimes people may be trying to express that they care by posting on FB, and it's just the nature of the FB platform that just makes everything seem so shallow.

i love hanging out and connecting with people in person. maybe try leveraging your FB comments/posts into reasons to ask people to actually hang out? or if you're tired of the same reactions of the same people, try opening your horizons to some new people...they may not be *exactly* what you're looking for, but maybe you'll surprise yourself by meeting someone new and really cool :) (just be safe!)

okay i hope that was helpful and sorry if i sound stupid in any of this. i just hope you feel better a lot!

2908 days ago
and yeah...don't pressure yourself too much, like the other person said!


it's hard sometimes for me too, so i'm kind of telling both of us here...


2833 days ago
Hi... I'm from Colombia and I feel the same way than you.., it's horrible!! I can't stand it anymore..I don't know what's wrong with me.. I would like to talk you, if you want please add me on your msn, this is mine: natirmoreno..hotmail. Well I hope we can talk. A hug.